This is an interesting question that needs more attention.
The short answer to this is NO. Technically everything in nature produces waste, so the term Zero Waste is misleading. It is impossible not to have waste.
The issue we have as humans is that we are consuming resources and therefore producing waste without giving any consideration to the effect the waste has on the environment. We are happy to send it to the magical place called “AWAY”. Unfortunately there is no such magical place, everything has to go somewhere and in this day and age “out of sight, out of mind” does not cut it anymore.
Waste in and of itself in not a problem in nature where the waste of one organism or process becomes food, energy or shelter for the next process or organism. And in the case of fossil fuels, nature stored it away safely until we as humans discovered it.
“Waste that does not have a purpose is called pollution.”
What should and can we do about this?
It reminds me of 4 people we all know when it comes to the waste challenges:- Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody
Everybody was sure Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.
Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
When we look at the challenges of climate change, the culprit is actually only pollution or waste that does not have a purpose.
Now, it is interesting that governments and big corporations are attending very important summits every year where impressive goals are set to try and reverse the current rising of the Earth’s temperatures and this has been going on for some years now without a lot of positive visible change.
Why is that? Is it that the governments are making false promises?
Let me go back to basics – who is producing the pollution? Is it the governments or big corporations? Or is it us, individual human beings? So at whose door should we place the waste and pollution challenge? The governments trying to address our waste while at the same time we are happily consuming more and polluting more or the individual who is creating the waste and demanding more and more convenient products that inevitably produces more waste and pollution.
Climate change programs will only have a positive impact if we as individuals are committed to reduce our personal energy, water and waste consumption. But how can we do that if we are not aware of what we are consuming. And we will only be aware of our consumption if we measure our personal or household consumption every month and commit to reduce it by a percentage every year.
Are you measuring yours?
Go ahead, take up the Positive Impact Challenge and measure your electricity, water, waste, and fuel consumption and commit to reduce it by 10% every year. (May as well throw in your flight travel miles as well in this challenge.)
Once we are transforming all our waste products into energy, food or shelter for the next process, we will be truly Zero Waste.
Don’t wait for your government to do something about it.